By Lindsay Owens Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — When Washington Catholic High School senior Megan LaGrange took the PSAT as a junior last year, she wasn't necessarily concentrating on becoming a National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist.
"I was just taking the test," she said. "I always try my best on tests." So when LaGrange, the reserved and witty daughter of Duane and Diana LaGrange of Washington, was called into the Principal Karie Craney's office earlier this year, she became a little concerned.
"I just kept wondering what I had done wrong and I really couldn't think of anything," LaGrange said. "When I got in the office, they (Craney and guidance counselor Mikie Mundy) told me it wasn't so bad. That's when I found out I had been named a semifinalist."
At first she didn't realize how important becoming a semifinalist was. "We asked her if she would like to call her family and tell them and she said no," said Mundy.
"My mom was actually meeting me for lunch that day so I just didn't really think it was necessary to call," said LaGrange. "I guess I just didn't realize what it meant to be chosen at the time."
LaGrange had an inkling that she may be chosen for the select group of over 1 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools before the meeting that day but she really wasn't expecting it.
"In the spring, when we saw Megan's scores, we thought there may be chance that she would be chosen," said Mundy. "I just think it is so special for her to be in the top percent of the nation for her scores."
Always an A student, LaGrange, who ranks at the top of her class, said that her father was also a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist.
On Friday, a surprise convocation was held to honor LaGrange's accomplishments. "At first I didn't know what was going on but then someone said they heard what was going on when they were in office. Then I saw my family and I knew what they were there for."
LaGrange said she is excited about the possibility of being selected as a finalist for the program that offers over 2,500 National Merit Scholarships valued at $2,500.
"I'm looking at Purdue, Harvard and Yale if I get one of the scholarships. There's a chance I may still apply to Harvard and Yale for fun if I get another scholarship I've applied for," she said. "I want to be a veterinarian."
Not all finalists are guaranteed a scholarship but over 200 colleges and universities finance over 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who attend their schools. The recipients of the National Merit Scholarships will be announced in four nationwide news releases starting in April and concluding in July.